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French word of the Day: Bite

It has one meaning in English, but a very different - and definitely NSFW - meaning in French. (Contains explicit language).

French word of the Day: Bite
Photo: Annie Spratt/Unsplash/Nicolas Raymond

Why do I need to know bite?

Because if you’re going to mix English and French you need to be sure you’re not unintentionally saying something very rude.

What does it mean?

Une bite in French is a slang term for penis, similar to ‘cock’ or ‘dick’ in English and it’s pronounced ‘beet’.

It’s widely used in casual French among friends but very definitely isn’t something that you would say in front of your boss, your French mother-in-law or any passing nuns.

Unlike its English equivalents, it’s not really used as an insult, so you wouldn’t call someone une bite, it’s used specifically to refer to the male body part.

The same spelling as the English verb bite (mordre in French) makes this word a bit of a minefield, as for example at Marks & Spencer’s Paris branches, where all products are sold untranslated, so that this box of sweet treats would be read in French as ‘millionaire’s little pricks’.

(Although if for any reason you ever wanted to say that in French, the correct expression would be les petites bites du millionnaire). 

Or the below infamous advert for a range of frozen snacks, where the attempt to introduce an air of sophistication by using a random French word results in an advert that says ‘little cocks, big compliments’.

Use it like this 

La sex tape du politicien nous a appris une chose : il a une très grosse bite – One thing we learned from the politician’s sex tape; he has a really big penis.

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For members


French phrase of the Day: Ne me prends pas pour un lapin de six semaines

Being patronised by a Frenchman? Roll out this phrase.

French phrase of the Day: Ne me prends pas pour un lapin de six semaines

Why do I need to know ne me prends pas pour un lapin de six semaines?

Because someone might be trying to take you for a fool.

What does it mean?

Ne me prends pas pour un lapin de six semaines – pronounced ne me pren pah pour un lapan de see sem-enn – translates as ‘don’t take me for a six-week-old rabbit’, and is a go-to phrase to warn people not to mistake you for a fool, someone who doesn’t understand what’s going on.

The podcast Hit West from French regional newspaper Ouest-France suggests that the ‘six weeks’ comes from the age a rabbit is weaned at, and must therefore be ready to survive on its own.

And why a rabbit at all? Well no-one really seems very sure. Rabbits don’t get a good rap in the French language though, to stand someone up is poser un lapin in French.

English-language metaphor equivalents may be, “I didn’t come down in the last shower”, “I wasn’t born yesterday”, or, as Line of Duty’s DCI Hastings might say, “I didn’t float up the Lagan in a bubble”.

Use it like this

Honestly, keep it simple. If someone’s speaking to you in a patronising manner, simply say: Ne me prends pas pour un lapin de six semaines.

Ouest France suggests that this is the ‘more elegant’ way to request that people don’t take you for a fool. It’s not offensive, but it might be a little old-fashioned. 


You can use the more basic version of this phrase – Ne me prends pas pour une idiote (don’t take me for a fool) or the slightly more punchy Ne me prends pas pour un con (don’t take me for a moron).